Braves steal series from Mets
Atlanta was able to win the series against the Mets and greatly hurt their playoff hopes this year. The series was delayed along with several others as intense rain hit most of the country Friday night. Friday night’s game was rescheduled for Saturday afternoon as the first half of a day-night double header.
Game 1 was a battle between lefties. Mike Hampton and Johan Santana went at it for several innings in a pitchers duel. Hampton went 6 innings allowing 2 runs while Santana went 7 innings, giving up 2 runs. Brian Stokes blew the save in the 9th inning for the Mets and allowed Atlanta to get a 3-2 victory. Mike Gonzalez recorded his 10th save of the season for the Braves in a perfect 9th inning.
The night game of the double header saw a strong Mets offense knock around Jo-Jo Reyes. Reyes lasted only 2 innings while allowing 4 earned runs. Mets’ starter Jonathon Niese was excellent throwing 8 scoreless innings and striking out 7. Both David Wright and Carlos Beltran homered to lead the New York offense to an easy 5-0 victory. Reyes has continued to struggle in his major league career and doesn’t appear to be making much progress. Jo-Jo has the stuff to be a 2nd or 3rd starter in the major leagues, he just needs to grasp more control of his pitches and gain some much needed confidence.
Game 3 had a dramatic ending to further hinder New York’s playoff hopes. Jorge Campillo took on Oliver Perez and was mediocre at best. He went just 3 and 2/3 innings and allowed 4 earned runs. The bullpen however was excellent, going the rest of the game and did not allow another run to score. Oliver Perez was good, going 7 innings and allowing 2 earned runs. His effort was good, but not good enough as Greg Norton launched a 3-run homerun in the top of the 9th to give Atlanta a 7-4 victory. Chipper Jones went 3-5 with a double and a RBI to improve his average to .365. He is still in the hunt for a batting title this year. Carlos Delgado helped his MVP campaign by going 3-5 with a double.
Chipper Jones has now improved his batting average to a league leading .365. He is now ahead of Albert Pujols by 5 points. Jones and Pujols are way out in front of 3rd place Matt Holliday who is batting .329. Chipper is having what may be a career best season. His power numbers are down, hitting 21 home runs and driving in 72 runs. Despite lower power numbers, his batting average is through the roof. Jones has been the team MVP from day one and if not for several injuries, he would have had a great shot at being league MVP. A great stat for Chipper is the fact that he has 81 walks to only 59 strikeouts. This feat is extremely hard to accomplish.
Atlanta has an off day on Monday and will resume play on Tuesday against the Philadelphia Phillies. Game 1 is scheduled to see Jamie “the ancient one” Moyer (14-7) take on James Parr (1-0). Parr was excellent in his first two career starts, throwing 6 shutout innings in both. Philadelphia’s starter for game 2 has not been announced yet. It could be either J.A. Happ or Kyle Kendrick. That pitcher will face Jair Jurrjens (13-9). Jurrjens will again try to improve on his excellent rookie season after have some extended rest. Game 3 will see either J.A. Happ or Kyle Kendrick. Whoever doesn’t pitcher game 2, will pitch game 3. That starter will face Jo-Jo Reyes (3-11), who will try end his season strong.
By Ben Burrows
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